Ajahn Sumedho is a prominent figure in the Thai Forest Tradition. His teachings are very direct, practical, simple, and down to earth. In his talks and sermons he stresses the quality of immediate intuitive awareness and the integration of this kind of awareness into daily life. Like most teachers in the Forest Tradition, Ajahn Sumedho tends to avoid intellectual abstractions of the Buddhist teachings and focuses almost exclusively on their practical applications, that is, developing wisdom and compassion in daily life. His most consistent advice can be paraphrased as to see things the way that they actually are rather than the way that we want or don't want them to be ("Right now, it's like this..."). He is known for his engaging and witty communication style, in which he challenges his listeners to practice and see for themselves. Students have noted that he engages his hearers with an infectious sense of humor, suffused with much loving kindness, often weaving amusing anecdotes from his experiences as a monk into his talks on meditation practice and how to experience life ("Everything belongs").
The Dhamma is something ordering, but we constantly over-look it and get stuck in the world of ideas and rational thought. Developing awareness of feelings and welcoming the totality of experience grounds us in the Deathless.
Using reason and logic, that is, acquired knowledge, we get caught in dualistic positions: right and wrong, good and bad, etc. We tend to
establish a fixed view about things. In this talk Ajahn Sumedho is trying to get us to a place beyond such dualistic thinking, beyond taking sides. He says that intuitive awareness involves a one-pointedness (ekaggata) that includes, rather than excludes. It is not dualistic. Transcendence is a matter of “being” it, not thinking about it.
We can be empowered in practice through getting to know the nature of
the world we live in and through learning from the way it is. Taking
refuge in knowing the truth-- the laws of nature-can free us from a
selfish struggle with the way things are.
The Buddha's teachings are all about awakening to the truth of suffering, or dukkha, and finding the end to it. Our potential for awakening begins to be realized when we shift our attitude to take an interest in suffering, learning from the way it is, and understanding how it gets created. Opening to the truth about suffering, we also open our awareness to something greater -- the ultimate reality.